As we count down from 50 days until the New Orleans Saints begin their regular season in Atlanta, on September 7th, we're getting to know a little bit about those players who have signed on to bring home another Lombardi trophy.
Today, we take a brief look at cornerback Derrius Brooks and wide receiver Kenny Stills!
So, with no more ado:
34 DAYS UNTIL ATLANTA!!!
#34 CB Derrius Brooks (1st year)
After being adopted into a family in 2006, in hopes of escaping a troubled past, Derrius Brooks became a standout in high school, and then at Western Kentucky. He started college as a wide receiver; but he converted to defensive back as a junior, after his coaches convinced him that a player his size (5'9", 192) could be more successful covering wide receivers than trying to compete with them for playing time.
His final year as a Hilltopper in 2011, Brooks tallied 48 tackles (33 solo), four interceptions and 10 passes defensed as he moved into the starting lineup for the final eight games of the season, and earned a spot on the All-Sun Belt Second-Team.
The Columbus, Georgia, native was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals after going undrafted in 2012, but was waived less than two weeks later. In 2013, he played in 11 games for the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders, and managed 35 tackles, three interceptions and six pass breakups. Then, at the beginning of 2014, he was signed to the New Orleans Saints under a reserve/future contract.
Unfortunately for Brooks, it is unlikely that he will make it past the first round of cuts in a few weeks.
2 yr(s) / $936,000. Average: $468,000 per year through 2015.
#84 WR Kenny Stills (2nd year)
In the Saints opener against the Falcons last year, Stills recorded two receptions for 86 yards, including a 67-yard reception, the longest by a Saints rookie in his debut. In October, he caught three passes for a career-high 129 yards and two touchdowns, including a 69-yard score. He was the first Saints rookie to score a touchdown in back-to-back games since Mark Ingram in 2011, and his career-long touchdown was a 76-yarder in the season finale against Tampa Bay. After a fantastic rookie season, Kenny also started both postseason games.
Like fellow young receiver Nick Toon, Stills is the product of an NFL family. His father, Ken, is a former safety who starred for Green Bay from 1985-89 and closed out his career with Minnesota in 1990. His uncle, Gary, was a standout linebacker at West Virginia and was drafted by Kansas City in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft, and played for the Chiefs until 2005, before suiting up for Baltimore (2006-07) and the St. Louis Rams.
Going into his second season in the NFL, Kenny Stills is an expected lock as a starting receiver for the 2014 Saints. He has sat out of much of training camp with a right quadriceps injury which has flared up a couple of times this summer, though he returned on Friday afternoon for the team's non-contact walk-through. He is eager to return, especially as his absence has opened the door for rookie receiver Brandin Cooks to draw some of the attention which might otherwise be going to Stills. However, the coaches are unlikely to have the same short memories which are common among NFL fans; and a healthy Kenny Stills should have little trouble drawing receptions from elite quarterback Drew Brees.
4 yr(s) / $2,354,452. Average: $588,613 per year through 2016.